This is a re-run from “I don’t know when; I’m too lazy to search” *heh*
I believe people today are too “credentials crazy” and rely too heavily on someone’s C.V. to provide validation for their opinions, including blog postings. While I have gone the university/grad school route (in a couple of different fields), I try to avoid citing those degrees or even my experience in those fields, as much as possible, to stamp “authority” over an opinion. If a particular personal experience (or set of experiences) can serve as support for other material from other sources, then that seems valid, but just saying “I have a (or several) degree(s) in such-and-so and work in the field” as an argument in and of itself for or against a position is just so much bullshit.
OK, rabbit trail (although this does indeed go somewhere, and will be revelatory). Authority has several faces, and several sources. Some legitimate and others not so (or not at all).
Two classes make religious authoritarian statements (although one denies it): actual, well, “religious leaders” and soi disant “scientists” who make religious claims about “science” (yes, there’s a good reason for the scare quotes).
In the area of relatively above board religious statements, there’s divine authority and human opinion. Wanna argue with God? Be my guest. (Glutton for punishment.) Some religious leaders claim divine authority. Tricky question. If one accepts the Bible as divinely authoritative, then a religious leader within Christianity (or I’d suppose Judaism) could claim to speak with authority if what he’s saying is… scripture. Otherwise, it’s just his opinion, and that’s only as authoritative as it is subject to reason, morality and scripture itself (we are talking about a particular set of authority here, after all). Any religious leader who simply asserts his opinion as authoritative because of his position within some religious hierarchy is playing at being the devil.
And yeh, if you wanna make an issue of it, I’ll argue that assertion from scripture.
Scientists as religious dogmatists? Global warming. There. That should be enough to tell any reasonable person to check the data, examine the processes, testing instruments and underlying assumptions at the very least before accepting any likely lie beginning with “scientists believe” or “scholars are in agreement” or any such crypto-cultic balderdash.
Oh! Lambasting “authorities”! Kicking the Sacred Cow by James P. Hogan. Just buy it and read. I don’t claim Hogan’s an “authority” on any of the subjects he touches on (nor does he), but he does point out some serious holes in the (really) religious statements of faith in scientism. Anthropogenic Global Warmism? Neodarwinism? Heck, “Einsteinism”. *heh* All just sects of the religion of scientism. And none of them nearly so authoritative as scientism would have you believe.
But what of darned near all other authority?
First, I distrust ALL assertions of authority. Unless a person can prove by citation of verifiable fact and via sound reasoning that their assertions are valid, then I don’t consider their assertions to have any authority at all. Credentials don’t count with me.
That includes doctors.
Teachers (of anything). Particularly, if a teacher cannot do–competently–what they are purporting to teach others, then I tend to write them off as blowhards.
I will always place more credence in a carpenter telling me “This is how it’s done” (cos the carpenter’s authority can be checked by looking at his work) than I would a politician telling me, well, anything (because a politician can be checked by looking at his work *heh*), but particularly, “This is just political reality.” “Political reality” is a self-referential construct, only as “real” as the power we give to (or is illegitimately seized by) the politician claiming it.
What of authority as exercised by various civil governments? More and more, if measured by the principles this nation was built on as articulated by the Founders’ generation particularly, civil government authority is illegitimate. Think Kelo or Martha Stewart or Ramos and Compean or Ruby Ridge or the TSA or… (yes, the list is long and growing)
In fact, the more powerful the government entity, the more abusive and illegitimate its authority seems to be. Which is why so many of the easy pickings in governmental/bureaucratic abuses are from federal exercises of authority.
In fact, if all I were to say about the illegitimate use of “feddle gummint” authority–indeed, abuse of citizens that is in exactly the same vein as those abuses the Founders decried in the Declaratiion of Independence–were “Lon Horiuchi” then that would be enough to demonstrate absolute proof of Samuel Francis’ “anarcho-tyranny” label of bureaucratic/governmental abuse of authority.
And oh, my! did the Department of “Justice” cover itself in shame in the Ruby Ridge/Lon Horiuchi coverup or not? Department of “Jam-up-citizens” would be a more accurate name…
Authority: distrust it. Make it prove itself worthy of respect. Martha Stewart is my hero(ine). If only because her case made manifest the depravity of abusive “feddle gummint” turf-building anarcho-tyrannists. She was punished under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 for “Lying to Government Agents”–according to testimony by the government agents in question AND a witness the “feddle gummint” persecutors later indicted for perjury for his testimony against Stewart. (Yeh, I don’t recall reading how that ended, but that they themselves indicted their own well-coached witness, the one who was THE critical nail in Martha’s coffin, says a lot, doesn’t it?)
At least some good, of a sort, has come out of the Martha Principle: “How to Avoid Going to Jail under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 for Lying to Government Agents.”
Read it. Somewhere, there’s a feddle prosecutor or bureaucrat who can nail you for breaking a law or regulatory rule you don’t know exists. All that’s needed is for a feddle gummint bureaucrat or prosecutor to set his/her sights on you and decide they want your hide. That’s an essential element of anarcho-tyranny: the ability to pick and choose among thousands of regulations and laws and selectively enforce them for personal gain–turf-building, career-enhancement or simply petty revenge.
That’s where abuse of Constitutional authority has led us.
ANY abuse of authority is just as evil. Yes, evil.
Distrust authority. Men lie, usually for short-term gain. Bureaucrats are more likely because they are petty, venal, corrupt and/or incompetent than not. Politicians are more likely to be all of those AND consumate liars than not.
And that brings me back to a revelation. Yeh, I have some academic creds. They are all crap. At best. From my earliest years, I learned to tune out the bullshit artists who claimed to be teachers (though I was fortunate to have some at all stages of my formal education path who were able doers in their field, as well). I consider myself semi-literate. Not a day goes by that I don’t make a new (to me) discovery, a “Hey! I didn’t know that!” kinda experience. Not all are as shocking as picking up an uncle’s “Bible”… to discover that it was in Greek (“But, but, I just heard him reading a passage aloud in English!”). Put me in a mind to get me one-a those thangs, too…
No, not all my “Aha!”s open up what seems to be a whole new world, as that experience did, but daily I learn new things that remind me–daily–how much there is to know that I do not.
And that also makes me a bit suspicious of folks who say with “authority” that things are such-and-so, when not only can I see exceptions to their model, but once firmly held their (false) view myself…
Question authority. Give persons “in authority” only the respect they are due… which means, only when they are right or at least honestly attempting to argue from reason and verifiable fact. When they are wrong, blow them a big, fat, juicy-wet raspberry. Ridicule is the highest, best response to false authority, the most generous response false authority deserves.
Want my C.V.? Go suck on a rock. My C.V. is irrelevant.
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